Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Still none the wiser #74


Leavers are said to be incandescent with rage at new delays. I wouldn't know because I only see leavers on the internet where everything is warped and strange. I often write like I'm the only leaver who thinks we do actually need a deal and that leaving without a deal would be a major economic and political failure - but I can't be the only one.

I'm actually at the point where I'm not sure if I should be angry or not. This morning I stumbled on this post I wrote at the beginning of December which probably pinpoints the exact moment where I had "no more fucks to give". It details the full spectrum of failure by the foolish Brexit blob - and the only thing I can really add to the post is that, had Brexiter MPs engaged with reality and constructively engaged in the process, a deal could have passed - and we would have been out of the EU on schedule.

The fullest implications of this delay are not yet fully understood. Says Bruno Waterfield, "31 Oct is not a final, final Brexit date (not least because its All Souls Day). There's a scheduled #EUCO on 17 Oct that could extend. 31 Mar 2020 is still the default end date - as before an expected April #EUCO to thrash out 2021-2027 EU budgets".

Typically, better analysis will appear on EUreferendum.com but then the substance will fall through the cracks by morning and the entire debate then becomes about Euro-elections and the leadership of the Tory party. The substance of any deal, Brexit fallout and other such piffling concerns will evaporate. What it means in cruder terms is months more buggering about, the same moronic arguments about customs unions, the same tedious mantras that May's deal "is not leaving" - and a strong chance the deal will get worse so that it still doesn't pass and then we are back here again whenever the real deadline is. 

Here we should not forget that the rage fest on Twitter has virtually no relationship with real world events. The grunter wing of Brexit were still tweeting "Chuck Chequers" even until recently, long after Chequers was even a thing. The same will apply here where remain and leave trench warfare troopers will rehash the entire leave/remain debate, all the while the EU continues the process of isolating the UK from EU institutions so that when they do call time on further fannying around, Britain will drop out without a deal if it has not then got its act together.

That is not to say that Brexit couldn't be stopped somehow. I've ruled things out as impossible before and then parliament goes ahead and does it. Their capacity for treachery and stupidity knows no bounds. I just don't know and I'm not prepared to speculate until I've seen where the battle lines are drawn. I will still make the case for leaving but this now feels like a tiresome chore foisted upon us by Brexiter MPs who have squandered every chance we had to get out on time. 

As to the soap opera of who leads the Tory party, the EU is still immovable on the backstop and the deal is still non-amendable and is likely to remain that way so it matters not who is captain of the Titanic. If there is to be a deal then it's a slightly modified version of the political declaration attached to the same deal - and if parliament wilfully obstructs it again and again then there is nowhere left to go. No deal is still a realistic prospect despite the PM's every effort to stop it from happening. 

So essentially, though this is a new chapter of the Brexit process, the closing scene of the first act, we are still essentially non the wiser, not knowing how, when or if we leave while politics continues to implode and the media retreats further into its comfort zone of confrontation, soap opera and airtime filling trivia. If there is anything to be incandescent with rage over then it is that. But that is the new norm, so how can I waste the energy?

Additional...

Following on from last night's analysis, we now get the speculation over the respective courses of action. If Brexiters are serious about leaving then they have to swallow their respective whinges and back the Withdrawal Agreement sometime before June. They could continue to play silly buggers but that pushes it it right to the wire. There can be no further extension after October for various procedural reasons where it's then either no deal or revoke.

If they are going to do that then they need to ensure there's a PM who definitely will not revoke. This cannot be said of May. She will put it to parliament and wash her hands of it. It is unclear, though, how the Tories will rid themselves of May. There is also talk of a snap election which would be electoral suicide for the Tories so I personally rule that out. With votes going to Brexit parties, and remain votes consolidating on Labour who would make vague noises about a referendum of some kind, we'd probably see Labour take a slim majority.

In the meantime we are sure to see all the same noises about putting it back to the people, but as yet we are not told precisely what it is we are putting back to the people. If it's going to happen then the wheels need to be rolling on the process by August. I don't see that happening but stranger things have happened.

All the while we should recall that the deal is not going to change so even though indicative votes are mooted once more, any conclusion can only augment, not replace the withdrawal agreement. Parliament will expend massive energy on the usual displacement activity to accomplish nothing.

Were I a betting man I would say that if the withdrawal agreement hasn't succeeded thus far then it's not going to, especially if remainers see a window to stop Brexit. They will play their double or quits games same as the ERG. So really it smells like we'll be here again in another six months facing the final dilemma, a last ditch attempt to ratify the deal and then if that fails whatever happens, happens on the toss of a coin. I have absolutely no idea.

The only certainty is that between now and then we'll get all the Brexiters who wailed at The Leave Alliance plan squealing at the consequences of having no plan at all. They will cry betrayal, but ultimately this is a mess of their own making. They cannot say they were not warned. 

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